Iowa State alumni’s art commissioned in North Grand Mall

An Iowa State alumni created a new mural for the inside of North Grand Mall.

The mural, which resides on near the entrance of North Grand Cinema, is the work of Kipp Davis. It features brightly-colored wording highlighting important aspects of the mall, Iowa State University and Iowa in general.

The mural utilizes a criss-cross pattern for the words as well as paintings of Iowa State’s mascot, butterflies, a swan and flowers. “Think North,” “USDA” and “Ames” stand out as the most noticeable words on the mural, written in bright yellows and reds.

The opportunity to paint a mural in North Grand Mall arose after general manager Lori Bosley saw Davis’ work in Inside Golf. 

“While listening to Lori’s ideas, designs were shifting through my mind deciding which style would fit best,” Davis said. “After a bit of time, I came to the current [design] when I realized it was my theme from the previous year that I decided to carry over, because a lot of info is able to be pressed into one wall while the audience can be able to read the painting and spend time learning about what Ames has to offer.”

Davis’ interest in art started early in his life. He said his first interest in art came from his dad’s interest in riding dirt bikes. Starting out drawing stick figures of his dad and dirt bikes, he eventually progressed into graffiti-style art. Through a little experimentation, Davis found that graffiti-style murals and word art were some of his favorite styles. 

In addition to murals, Davis helps paint art signs around Ames. His art sign in Inside Golf is what gave him the opportunity to paint a large mural elsewhere in the mall. So far, Davis has had five works commissioned in Ames. Along with the North Grand Mall mural, Davis’ work can be found in The Social in West Ames and Ignite Yoga. He has also painted windows for AI Supplements. 

Davis said he enjoys making murals due to the effect they have on younger generations.

“It’s fun to work with kids, especially when they walk up proud for me to look at their work,” Davis said. “It’s fun seeing what each kid can create and seeing each of their styles. When a kid is determined to create something or follow through with their ideas, you can tell they each have a strength in them that they will follow through with for the rest of their life.”

Davis’ first chance to paint in a public space came during high school.

“I got my first opportunity when my high school approached me to paint something related to the mascot for their outdoor facility,” Davis said. “When I was almost complete with it, they decided to keep it inside so it wouldn’t get ruined. Ever since, I’ve enjoyed painting larger subjects, so I was able to build off that and receive more opportunities. 

The Spencer, Iowa native graduated from Iowa Lakes Community College with an associates degree in graphic design. Davis then attended Iowa State and received a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary design.